Erick Galen Giumelli was bound over for trial on charges of assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury to his sister, Ms. Despina Saulmon. He not only beat his sister to the ground with his fists, he put the boots to her once he’d knocked her down.
Lots of us have annoying sisters, but Jeez.
Backdrop to beatdown.
Sis had a nice piece of property in Redwood Valley and was on the verge of making a great fortune growing marijuana, the magical herb that puts enormous sums of ready cash within the reach of lucky imbeciles who would elsewhere have to drudge through life at the minimum wage. Sis had cut her brother out of the annual tax-free bonanza.
Being dumped from a deal like a pot pharm might cause extremes of violent jealousy, vengeance, and coercion, mightn’t it? Sort of like waking up Christmas morning and seeing that your sister got all the presents and you only got a lump of coal. And February 2nd — when this appalling incident went down — was the veritable Christmas morning of the bright new era in dope growing: Legalization!
Of course, it wouldn’t be nice to mention any of this in court — totally irrelevant, your honor! So much crime and other forms of mischief are tied directly or indirectly to the underground economy, that the courts — like other businesses —have developed a tacit code of conduct to keep it quiet, since everybody is profiting so splendidly from it.
But we can piece together the connection by some of the things that were not said on the stand. Namely, that the sister had fallen into a piece of property, through a relationship with her new “friend,” and that Bro was told to stay away.
According to the testimony, Ms. Saulmon was on the porch talking to her new friend when Mr. Giumelli appeared. She said he knew he wasn’t allowed to come on the property, and though he’d been squatting on another piece of property nearby, he wasn't supposed to be there, either. Ms. Saulmon’s new love interest didn’t want Bro around.
Sis left the porch and went to confront Bro, “to tell him to him he needed to leave.”
Deputy DA Caitlin Keane asked what, if anything, the defendant did in response to this mild request.
“He hit me in the face with his fist.”
“More than once?”
“Yes. I don’t know how many times, but I was knocked down — probably on the first punch. Then, when I was on the ground, he started kicking me in the stomach.”
“Were you injured?”
“I had a mild concussion, I guess. I went to the hospital and they cleared me out and I went home. The next day I was dizzy and my friend said I probably had a concussion.”
Vishad Dewan of the Office of the Public Defender objected on the grounds that this diagnosis was hearsay. Judge Ann Moorman sustained the objection.
“Did you call 911?”
“Were you truthful with the deputies when they arrived?”
“Did you ask him to stop hitting you?”
“Huh? …Uh, I’m not sure. I was kinda in shock — I mean, I couldn’t believe he was punching and kicking me.”
“Were you bleeding?”
“I may have been … I can’t remember, but I had a lump on my head.”
“Were you in pain?”
“Yes, my head hurt really bad, and my stomach.”
“Yes. They showed up later. My friend noticed them when I was getting ready for bed. I had a black eye, too.”
Mr. Dewan asked, “Did you say you first saw your brother come on the property when you were on the porch talking to your friend?”
“Did this person, the friend, see the attack?”
“He wasn’t in view but he told me he heard it.”
“How do you mean?”
“It would be better if I drew it. Ca I use this paper on the easel?”
“Well, my friend was right here, on the porch, and we — my brother and me — we were over here; and, you see, this carport was right here, so he couldn’t see us.”
“How far away were you?”
“Not that far. Maybe from here to the back wall.”
“So about 30 feet?”
“I guess so, yeah.”
“So you went to confront him when you first saw him come on the property?”
“Yes. I was hoping he would leave but he didn’t. He started talking all this crazy shit and then hit me.”
The crazy shit being hearsay, we were not allowed to hear it. The number of hits and kicks were not counted, although law enforcement was told about 40 each, which seemed exaggerated from Sis’s testimony when she had stated, “It seemed like a lot.”
Sis’s not so gallant friend, even though he heard the altercation and her cries for help, did not come to the rescue.
Public defender Dewan couldn’t for the life of him come up with a defense.
“I feel like I should make some argument, so I would ask the charges be reduced from felony to misdemeanor, a 17b. I know the court takes these things very seriously, but the victim was probably exaggerating.”
DDA Keane said, “The charge says force ‘likely,’ not ‘probably,’ Judge, and the People are opposed to a 17b.”
The motion to reduce the charges was denied. Bro will answer to the charges that he assaulted his sister with enough sustained force to kill her.
There was no explanation for Bro’s behavior, no real defense, no nothing, and the defendant started talking all this crazy shit — muttering, really — that this hack* couldn’t understand. But I do understand, after eight years on this beat, that people do incomprehensible things where the profits from pot pharms are concerned.
*“By using the most derogatory appellation for your profession yourself, you rob your most virulent detractors of their cruelest weapon.” — Sir Walter Scott